Today I have received the best possible birthday present to date….a TANDEM SKYDIVE.
Skydiving has been on my bucket list ever since I first created my list and a dream of mine since forever. I always knew that I would do it some day, I just wasn’t sure when or how? My birthday treat was organised by my wife who got the whole family to chip in on the cost and finally make my dream a reality.
So this morning we awoke early checking the weather outside of our bedroom window, only to see a blue sky filled with a few wispy clouds. This was good skydiving weather. I know this now as today will be the 4th time that I will attempt to jump. Previously there has been mechanical faults, clouds and fog that have scuppered my jumping plans. We arrive at Perranporth airfield just before 9am. I checked in with the Cornish parachute club and I was informed that after all checks had been completed that I would be on the first jump of the day. Having already gotten as far as getting all suited up previously and unable to fly I was excited and yet cautious about getting ready to fly. As I got suited up I could feel the excitement start to build as well as feel the anticipation fill the air. My tandem instructor was a guy called Ben and he really made everyone feel at ease and really enjoy the build up to the jump. Once all suited up I went outside to my Paparazzi wife who ensured that she would capture all that she could with her Nikon camera and lens would allow. Suddenly the engine started up and the plane was ready to leave. As we all walked over the plane the excitement started to build I was officially in unchartered territory this was the furthest I had yet got to skydiving. 🙂
Standing by the plane I was overcome with not only the power of the engines but also how small the plane looked up close. I couldn’t believe that there would be six of us flying in it including the pilot. I got in with Ben squeezing in close to the pilot followed by Jake a fellow tandem skydiver and instructor and his camera man who was only holding on to a metal bar crouching down by the open door of the plane as we began to taxi off down the run way. As we started to take off and rise higher into the sky you started to take in the most amazing views of Cornwall. You could see Perranporth, St Agnes, Falmouth, St Ives, Godrevy plus many more. It was absolutely incredible. Then before we knew it we were up above the clouds amongst the bluest sky you have ever seen. All of a sudden we had reached 10,000 feet and were ready to jump. After our straps being tightened once more and all equipment checked we were ready to jump.
I was second to jump and felt surprisingly calm. All I could feel was the excitement coursing through my veins and feeling a little nervous not knowing when exactly Ben would start the jump. Sat on the edge of the plane I was ready to jump, with my legs crossed under the plane, arms crossed over my chest and head lead back on Ben’s shoulder. For a few seconds I was dangling out of the plane only attached to Ben when suddenly we were free-falling. Falling at around 120 mph with a free fall of only 30 seconds it felt like forever. The rush of the wind as I fell through the sky was phenomenal. At first all you can see are clouds and then with no warning you are through the clouds and drinking in the most amazing views whilst still hurtling towards the ground. Then all of a sudden I’m informed to keep my head back as the parachute opens making you feel like all of a sudden you are floating and gliding your way back down to earth.
Once the parachute has opened you get to take over the controls and with Ben to help me we did a few spirals, twists and turns. As we got closer to the ground Ben released some of the pressure on my straps and it felt amazing I hadn’t realised how constricted and tight they were before. As we aimed for the drop zone we practiced me lifting my legs up high just prior to the final turn and swoop into land. On landing I felt truly exhilarated and also sad that it was all over so quickly. The guys on asking how I found the jump i responded “Fucking amazing”.
I am so incredibly lucky to have had this experience and it has only increased my adrenaline junkie side. Thank you to my wife for organising the best birthday ever! I am now definitely feeling the pressure to ensure she has a great birthday experience too.